I spun one of these albums constantly throughout high school, the other only twice after college. Though both are in the same epoch of music cataloged as nu metal, so theoretically if I like one, I should like the other. I’m only keeping the one I have more attachment toward. I spun the hit single of the other. It inspired no enthusiasm. These sorts of comparative analyses can be helpful in downsizing, but also dangerous.
There aren’t many albums better than You’re Not Alone.
I’ve listened to it every month since its release and its content goes through a transformative arc, starting with baseline values and leaving you with a sense that you can do the impossible- because others have. While positive affirmations may saturate the cynical listener, there are few other albums I would rather spin.
That’s why I limit how many times per month I spin an album.
That gives me time to broadly assess many albums, sure, but I never really get to think deeply about any one album. I did for You’re Not Alone because I spun it for basically the entire time I drove during my 10-day move into the apartment-mansion. As I go back through this second, more thorough pass of my CD collection, I am more critical of the CDs I keep. It’s not so much that I ask whether I’d prefer listening to some random CD versus You’re Not Alone as much as at what point is it clear to me that an album doesn’t inspire me anymore to feel any particular feeling.
Different musicians evoke different moods.
I stopped considering genres as a primary factor for listening to music years ago, because while Band X and Band Y might be in the same genre, it doesn’t mean they even sound the same, let alone elicit the same responses. It’s an easy way to find new music, but that Band Y could actually fit in better with other bands or genres if they were classified differently.
Those sorts of external mechanisms can be harmful.
We might lead ourselves to believe that we like or dislike something based on a band or person within spitting distance of a genre or group. It is always better to judge something on its own merits and shortcomings than how it surrounds itself. I shouldn’t like or dislike Band X only because I hold a similar opinion to Band Y.
That’s where genre trappings can negatively influence us.
If, instead, we judge something against itself – while we try to imagine it in its best possible light – then we could decide whether something is worth investing in. The chump change I spent on these CDs, by this other band whose work I’ll be downsizing soon, helped me realize I have many other CDs I kept by proxy. I’m already OK with downsizing the lunkers in a discography I overall enjoy. A major hang-up, though, was keeping something because I kept something else.
I’m learning to downsize everything mundane.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I spun some CD and thought of some other CD I’d rather be listening to during the few tracks I heard before I switched it out to something else, then just jammed on that mindset.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Picture: Zen philosophy; simple CDs drawing.|
|Written On: June 27th [27 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: July 2nd [5 minutes of editing, otherwise, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]|